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EXCLUSIVE: Trump lawyer Bruce L. Castor Jr. defended his performance Tuesday in the Senate, saying it has “not been communicated” to him that former President Trump was angry over his statements during the first day of the Senate impeachment proceedings.
During an exclusive interview with Fox News, Castor addressed reports that Trump was “furious” and “beyond angry” over his defense team’s showing on Tuesday. Sources told Fox News that the former president had been displeased with Castor’s opening argument.
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“My reaction is you need to check those sources because that has not been communicated to me by the president or anybody associated with the president,” Castor said. “Including Mark Meadows, who specifically came to the Capitol yesterday to tell me don’t read news coverage.”
Castor added that Meadows told him that “everything is going fine” and to “continue doing what you’re doing.”
Castor’s 45-minute opening remarks were widely panned on social media after he praised the House impeachment managers for a job “well done.”
Castor told Fox News that his statement came at a time when he was “not planning to speak at all.”
“Yesterday was a pre-trial motion. It was supposed to be, according to the Senate resolution, a legal discussion on the issue of jurisdiction. We took the Senate resolution literally and were prepared to argue jurisdiction,” Castor explained, but acknowledged that “the House Managers deviated substantially from the mandate and made a very strong, and direct emotional appeal.”
“I have had 35 years of reading the expressions of people’s faces as jurors, and I could see that it had hit home,” Castor said, referring to Lead Manager Jamie Raskin’s opening remarks, recounting his experience during the Capitol riot last month.
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Castor told Fox News that he knew what David Schoen, another lawyer on Trump’s defense team, was going to say and said he was “married to what we wrote in that brief.”
“He was not going to deviate,” Castor explained. “I am faced with a chamber that is emotionally charged and our response was about to be a scholarly treatise on a narrow portion of law.”
Castor said he “did not think that was a good idea.”
“I thought the likelihood of the senators paying attention to our jurisdiction argument would go up if I could lower the temperature in the chamber before David spoke,” Castor explained. “And that is why I changed the strategy, and essentially, gave a portion of what was going to be my opening statement in the trial later in the case.”
Castor, though, said that Trump “is paying me to win the case.”
“If winning the case has a consequence that I have to take a few torpedos in order to focus attention on us and away from what the House managers are doing, then that is part of the danger in being a trial lawyer, when prevailing is of greater importance that personal grandiosement.”
“One of the reasons I made the audible I did yesterday was to dial back the emotion,” Castor said. “Because when you distill the House Managers’ case down to its smallest essence, their case is what happened on January 6 is so bad that it justifies the abrogation of all constitutional protections.”
He added: “There is no set of facts that ever justifies abrogating the freedoms granted to Americans in the United States Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Castor said that “the media is paying far more attention to what I had to say, and consequently spent less time on arguments advanced by Raskin and his team.”
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“That was by design,” Castor said. “I don’t like reading bad stuff about me in the newspaper any more than anyone else does, or my legal colleagues around the country saying I’m stupid, but the reason I made the change was precisely so that in lowering the temperature in the room, the public coverage would be more about what I said than about what the House Managers said.”
At one point in his remarks Tuesday, Castor said: “The American people just spoke and they just changed administrations.”
Castor added the public was smart enough to “pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”
Castor clarified those remarks.
“What I said was in a light most favorable to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. The people have spoken and the administration changed,” Castor said. “The point that I am making is that if we accept as true the position of the Democrats that the election was fair, and that the people chose President Biden over now former President Trump—if we take that as fact—then they now must concede that the American public does know how to change administration if they want to.”
“Taking from President Trump the ability to hold office in the future demonstrates to me that the Democrats are afraid that the people of the United States can’t be trusted with the power to change administrations, and should not be given the choice of returning to President Trump if that is what they want,” Castor continued.
He added that if the Democrats believe the 2020 was “fairly conducted, then their argument has to be disputed.”
“Because in four years, or in 2024, those same voters, in a free and fair election, should be counted on to be able to go again, make the correct decision on who the president should be,” Castor explained. “But the Democrats don’t want that.”
“What the Democrats want is Mr. Biden in the White House based on the election results of November, and they do not trust the American people to make the correct decision for the country in 2024, so they are trying to remove a political rival,” he said.
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Castor explained that “one of the fundamental differences” between their defense of Trump and the argument of the House Managers is that “we trust the American people to make the right choice from all available candidates for president — including former President Trump.”
“The House Managers have taken a position that they do not trust the American people to make the right choice and are trying to remove Trump from them as a potential choice,” Castor said.
He added: “I believe that if the position taken by the House Majority and advanced by the House Managers is adopted, it is a direct repudiation of the United States Constitution and will go down in history as the first step on the road to the fall of the republic.”
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